Jun 09, 2016
By Jane Brown
It appears there is an increasingly powerful relationship between stroke and dementia.
A new Heart and Stroke Foundation report says the connection is due in part to a type of stroke that Canadians don’t realize are happening.
These are called covert strokes and they occur five times more often than obvious strokes. And the report says both are happening at a younger age, opening the possibility to more and earlier dementia and alerting the need for an increased focus on prevention.
Research suggests having a stroke more than doubles the risk of developing dementia. Out of every 100 stroke patients who don’t have a past history of dementia, 16 are likely to develop it after their first or subsequent stroke. And as we age, one in three Canadians will have a stroke, develop dementia, or both.
Stroke can be prevented by managing vascular risk factors including high blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes, as well as unhealthy behaviours such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor diet. Dementia can be delayed or its progression slowed by physical activity and new learning.